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Light & Wonder Installs Award-winning KASCADA Cabinets for First Time in Macau

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Light & Wonder debuted its impressive KASCADA cabinets – the KASCADA DUAL SCREEN and KASCADA Portrait – for the first time in Macau integrated resorts.

“We are very excited to see the initial installs of both the KASCADA vertical and dual screen cabinets in Macau, featuring fan-favorites, COIN COMBO and DUŌ FÚ DUŌ CÁI GRAND, as well as additional game content Light & Wonder Creators designed specifically for the Asian Market. We are honored to debut these award-winning cabinets and cannot wait to showcase even more innovative content and products throughout the region in the future,” said Ken Jolly, VP and Managing Director, Asia.

One of the staples in the award-winning product line, the KASCADA DUAL SCREEN is an expansion on the success of the KASCADA Portrait cabinet. This best-in-class hardware is complemented by a sleek lighting package for a modern look, highlighted by a signature reflector edge-lighting design that gives it a striking presence on the gaming floor. Among the many eye-catching features, the cabinet comes with dual high-resolution 27” monitors with a floating 27” topper, promoting striking, crystal-clear graphics and allowing for dynamic game content.

The Macau debut of the KASCADA Portrait cabinet also brings COIN COMBO – one of the most successful global game brands – and DUŌ FÚ DUŌ CÁI GRAND to the area. Upping the ante with both CARNIVAL COW and HYPER HORSE titles, players will love the Coin Combo feature, which awards upgraded features with better prizes and improved jackpots.

With more wealth pots and more features, DUŌ FÚ DUŌ CÁI GRAND is the next-evolution jackpot and feature-rich game family to be released in the region by Light & Wonder.

Asia

Paving the Way for Regulated iGaming market: Will India See the Rise?

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Paving the Way for Regulated iGaming market: Will India See the Rise?
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By Dr Aruna Sharma, Practitioner Development Economist & Retd Secretary GoI

 

Could you provide insights into the current market potential for iGaming in India, and what key challenges do you anticipate the industry facing in the near future?

The popularity of online gaming as a form of entertainment in India has surged with the widespread availability of inexpensive smartphones and affordable internet access. Global investors, developers, and other industry stakeholders are keenly watching the growth story of the Indian online gaming industry which has witnessed a 28% CAGR between FY20-23 and holds a market valuation of ₹16,428 crores.

However, instead of direct contribution in the economic growth story of India the online gaming industry is contributing in terms of increasing revenue (direct and indirect tax) collection (year-on-year). Additionally, the sector has attracted budding tech developers and entrepreneurs by providing them employment opportunities and fueling innovation to keep up with the rising demand for AI and other such immersive gaming experiences.

After some crucial and elucidative changes in the regulatory and taxation policies by the government in 2023, one can hope that 2024 for iGaming will thin the clouds that are shadowing accelerated growth of iGaming in India. 2024 holds promise for iGaming in India. While full regulation may take time, positive court ruling and increased focus on non-RMG segments could cause a casual gaming boom, potentially unlocking a multi-billion dollar market. However, regulatory uncertainty and potentially high tax rates remain a hurdle for attracting investments and interest of other stakeholders in this growing market and industry.

 

What are the main challenges facing Indian iGaming and how different are these challenges within the different regions of India?

  • The government is focusing on reducing threats like false information, mental health problems, money laundering, and financial losses for users by bringing rules and regulations such as the IT Rules, establishing SROs and SRBs.
  • Adequate regulation, that is conducive to doing business, is needed, first of all, to protect the Indian players. Because in the current situation, Indians are being abused by countless nefarious parties. Checking and curbing the illegal gaming platforms and enhancing mechanisms to ensure increased user awareness and behaviour while indulging in online gaming.
  • A pressing concern that requires governments urgent attention is to put in place parameters that differentiate between games of skill and chance for taxation.
  • As a fallout of high and retrospective taxation the industry is facing job losses, advertising and spending cuts and reduced investments in research and innovations.

Additionally, policy and regulatory compliance for the platforms have become increasingly complex with both center and state governments legislating on the same subjects and multiple ministries regulating the industry.

 

Delve into the necessity for a regulatory framework that is both balanced and adaptable.

Unregulated framework where user base is large leads to spread of iGaming in gray market with all its vices. By regulating the iGaming industry, the government can unlock other positive outcomes, such as increased tax revenues, economic growth via attracting more foreign investment, job creation, and better consumer protection. A thorough regulatory framework will enable transparent parameters to distinguish and license the game of skill accordingly and rest will fall under game of chance.

Regulations always bring in transparency and ensure there is no misleading advertising or non-payment of legal taxes. Additionally, regulations such as the IT Amendment Rules, 2023 have ascertained a robust grievance redressal mechanism by setting up of the SRBs and SROs.

Further a balanced and stable regulatory framework could provide assurance and confidence to the international iGaming companies in paying taxes while doing business in a regulated and transparent market, create jobs, and invest in the country and its people. Thus, comprehensive regulations, that are conducive to doing business and protect the Indian players, who are being abused by countless nefarious parties are necessary in the current iGaming landscape.

Consequently, foreign iGaming companies operating legally have consistently demanded that the Indian government establish an adequate and stable regulation and taxation regime. Instead, the government has consistently chosen to unwisely prohibit it, thus pushing this whole industry underground. Furthermore, iGaming companies face unfair persecution and baseless lawsuits from India.

 

The new 28% GST on online gaming has produced divided opinions about the industry’s future in India. How has the industry reacted to it?

Industry initially panicked at the 28% tax, fearing slow growth and reduced investments. The partial relief, clarification on the regulatory compliances have brought cautious optimism. Smaller firms remain anxious, fearing the high rate still discourages players and favors larger businesses. Long-term impact depends on pending Supreme Court judgment on game classification and potential tweaks to the tax structure.

The applicability of a flat 28% tax on the total value of bets placed in online gaming, irrespective of whether they are games of skill or chance has upset the applecart that was moving smoothly with the evolution of agreed principles among SROs and the oversight by SRB with clear distinction of the regulatory body between Games of Skill (permissible games) with that of Games of Chance.

The matter is now being reviewed by a Group of Ministers (GoMs) comprising of officials from ministries such as the Home, Finance, MeitY, etc. to reconsider the GST and how to counter episodes of money laundering and other such scams and frauds.

 

Finally, what can we expect from Indian iGaming as a whole this year, if you were to sum it up in three key points?

It is expected that 2024 will set pace by bringing in clarity in rule making, consistency of rules, inculcating a more stable policy environment that enables India to not miss the bus of becoming a hub for developers. The iGaming industry is expected to tighten its grip for filling the digital divide, enabling learning of cognitive skills and enhance conscious citizen messaging to further tap into the positive side of iGaming.

Additionally, iGaming industry should leverage technologies like blockchain to further the purpose of transparency and tracking of digital payment as a technical solution and for permanent storage of records to curb money laundering. Alongside formulation of regulatory policies, a stricter implementation of policies such as IT Rules (establishing SRBs), mandatory KYC, and compliance with Advertisement Standard Council in India (ASCI) norms for iGaming industry need to be inculcated in ensuring safe and secure gaming platforms.

The future of the gaming industry holds promise of growth, however, there is still a hazard that due to absent market regulation and destructive policies, international iGaming companies shun India, sending an unwelcoming signal to many other potential foreign investors.

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Asia

2 PEOPLE CAUGHT OPERATING ILLEGAL ONLINE GAMING SITE

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Twelve people suspected of involvement in illegal online gaming operations were arrested today, February 16, in an exclusive Parañaque City subdivision after a month-long surveillance, according to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco said the arrests were made by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and the Anti-Cybercrime Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP) together with the PAGCOR monitoring team.

“The raiders were armed with a warrant to search, seize and examine operations of computer data against the suspects who were caught red-handed while operating the illegal online gaming platform https://www.tbb888.com or the Big Bet,” Chairman Tengco said.

The illegal gaming site has been operating games like slot machines, live casino, e-sports, among others. Authorities seized from the suspects eleven computer sets, 21 mobile phones, 2 ipads, 6 laptops and flash drives, according to the PAGCOR chief.

Onsite examination revealed that the confiscated gadgets contain evidence of the group’s illegal online activities, said PAGCOR Senior Vice President for Security and Monitoring Cluster Raul Villanueva.

The raid was conducted inside BF Northwest Subdivision, an affluent enclave whose residents include some of the most prominent political and business leaders in Parañaque.

Mr. Villanueva said cases will be filed against the suspects before the Parañaque Regional Trial Court.

“The operation was part of our unified efforts to intensify the fight against illegal online gambling because we have a marching order from PAGCOR Chairman Alejandro Tengco to put a stop to these illegal activities,” Mr. Villanueva said.

“We will continuously collaborate with law enforcement authorities such as the PNP and even the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency to put a stop to these,” he said.

“We advise the public to stop patronizing illegal online gaming sites and instead play on legal platforms to protect themselves. Unfortunantely, most of the victims of these illegal sites are Filipino bettors.

“We are also working closely with the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center under the Department of Information and Communications Technology because we have a lot more targets under surveillance,” he added.

According to Mr. Villanueva, close to 5,000 illegal online gaming sites were operating in the country at one time but 80% of these were already blocked.

“We need to consistently monitor and report them to authorities not only to protect the bettors but to also ensure that revenues from regulated gaming are channeled back to the government for its nation-building programs,” he said.

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Asia

Revenant Esports’ SK Rossi, Indian VALORANT Esports Star, Unveiled As First KREO Athlete

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Revenant Esports’ standout player, Ganesh “SkRossi” Gangadhar, one of India’s most popular esports players who has represented the country in various occasions in VALORANT, has been enlisted by KREO, a pioneering consumer electronics brand catering to gamers and creators, as their first “KREO Athlete.”

Ishan Sukul, the CEO of KREO, expressed his enthusiasm for signing SkRossi as the inaugural KREO Athlete, stating, “We recognized Rossi’s talent even before we started Kreo. India needs more trailblazers in the gaming, esports sectors, individuals who become larger than life and inspire the next 10 million pros. After just one chat with him, we could see he’s destined to do larger things, not just for VALORANT, but for the entire esports sector in India. Our partnership with him is not quite simple, it’s a symbiotic relationship which we’ll both nurture to launch quality gear that brings in the next pros to the arena.”

SkRossi boasts a decorated gaming career encompassing more than 5 years, initially competing in Counter-Strike before transitioning to VALORANT. As a VALORANT competitor, he has earned accolades as one of India’s most distinguished athletes, securing numerous first-place finishes. Notably, he represented Global Esports in Riot Games’ VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Pacific last year, competing in South Korea.

KREO, founded in 2022, has been pioneering the gaming consumer electronics space with an impressive lineup of products catering PC gamers, mobile gamers, and creators. Backed by prominent investors like Sauce. VC, Chona Family Office, Revant Bhate (Co-founder at Mosaic Wellness), and Bala Sarda (Founder at Vahdam Teas), the brand caters to all the hardware needs of a gamer ranging from audio and video to tripods and mousepads.

Expressing his excitement on being selected as the inaugural KREO Athlete, SkRossi said, “It’s an exhilarating feeling to be chosen as the first KREO Athlete. My objective has always been to continually enhance my skills while also serving as a source of inspiration for budding gamers across the nation. This vision resonates with KREO, and I am eager to collaborate with a brand that recognizes the needs of an average Indian gamer with budget-friendly and trustworthy products.”

In the Indian esports landscape, which has predominantly revolved around mobile gaming, PC esports players like SkRossi have been forging a name for themselves with their impressive dedication and skills in PC gaming. SkRossi’s designation as a KREO Athlete marks a significant milestone in the Indian esports industry, positioning him as one of the few PC esports players to secure an exclusive brand partnership, a testament to 26-year-old player’s stardom.

Rohit Jagasia, the Founder and CEO of Revenant Esports, added, “We are immensely proud to have facilitated this collaboration between our peripherals partner, KREO, and our star athlete, SkRossi. I have had the privilege of knowing SkRossi for years, and his relentless commitment to his craft is truly commendable. Therefore, he is the perfect choice for a KREO Athlete, empowering him to further elevate his status by aligning with a pioneering peripheral brand for gaming. This alliance also underscores Revenant’s commitment to not only signing star athletes but also leveraging all available resources to ensure their optimal growth, both within and outside the gaming realm.”

As a KREO Athlete, SkRossi will have access to official KREO products, and he will play a pivotal role in various KREO activations while contributing to the development of new products tailored to the needs of professional PC gamers.

 

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